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Pie
November 15, 2013 9:02 AM   Subscribe

What's an easy pie to make? I don't really cook or bake, but I have to make a pie for Thanksgiving because of reasons.

I intend to buy the dough, but I would prefer for everything else to be homemade. Things like apple pie filling from a can feels like cheating, but I'm not completely averse to it.

Pies I like - sweet potato, banana cream, key lime is alright, pecan. But I'm open to anything because I have no idea how hard or easy it is to make these types of pies and the focus is on easy and simple.
posted by nooneyouknow to Food & Drink (58 answers total) 156 users marked this as a favorite
 
cheesecake is by far the easiest.

Buy package crust.

Buy sugar and creamed cheese and vanilla. Mix with egg.

Bake.

If you want to get fancy then add some berries or chocolate or whatever.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:04 AM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I find pumpkin pie really easy. Essentially it's mix the pumpkin goo with some evaporated milk, some eggs, add spices, bake in the shell. Done.
posted by chatongriffes at 9:05 AM on November 15, 2013 [16 favorites]


Sweet potato or pumpkin pie made with canned sweet potato or canned pumpkin (not canned filling, but cans of pre-roasted sweet potato or pumpkin) will be pretty easy. You'll probably open the can, dump the stuff into a bowl, add some spices, some eggs, some milk or cream, mix, and dump into the crust, more or less.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:05 AM on November 15, 2013


You should make my friend Greta's fantastic, dead-easy chocolate pie. It is not Thanksgiving (or Christmas) at our house without it.
posted by rtha at 9:07 AM on November 15, 2013 [13 favorites]


Banana cream pie is pretty easy to make.

This looks like a good recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/old-fashioned-banana-cream-pie-14979
posted by Dolley at 9:08 AM on November 15, 2013


As a complete baking novice, I was surprised at how simple apple pie is. It's true that pumpkin or cheesecake are quicker because you're just dumping and mixing. Apple requires time to peel, core, and slice apples, but it's not technically demanding - it doesn't have to look pretty, you just have to get rid of the core and peel. Once that's done, it's just tossing the apples with a bit of sugar and spice.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 9:13 AM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, yes, it's 'cheating,' but pre-made blueberry pie filling dropped into some storebought pie crust, put in an oven and then topped with vanilla ice cream is literally a two-step recipe and it's fucking delicious.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 9:13 AM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pumpkin pie is seriously as easy as it gets. The recipe is even on the back of the can. I think it tells you to mix things in a certain order but I made one last week and just dumped it all in at once, mixed it up, and poured it into a store-bought crust. It came out totally fine.
posted by something something at 9:14 AM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apple Crunch is one of the easiest pies to make and is really yummy and seasonal.

http://southernfood.about.com/od/applecrisps/r/bl11014a.htm
posted by bottlebrushtree at 9:15 AM on November 15, 2013


Seconding pumpkin pie, it's a snap. I like it with a packaged cookie crust, which is if possible even more foolproof.

Blueberry is also easy, no chopping. The lattice is easy with store-bought pastry.

Come to think of it, there's a reason "easy as pie" is a phrase.
posted by Erasmouse at 9:15 AM on November 15, 2013


Ok.

I don't bake either. I'm terrible at it.

However, I made an apple pie once. It turned out incredible.

I bought the crust too, because fuck making a crust.

Here are the ingredients for filling I did. It's pretty basic:

2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 pounds of 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices of peeled and cored good cooking apples such as Granny Smith, Pippin, Golden Delicious
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

(With apple pie, it's not imperative the proportions are perfect. If you put in a bit too much cinnamon? Oh, well.)

Directions:

Get you one of these bad boys. And take out the cores.
Dump everything in a big bowl, and mix it with your hands until it looks all nice and evenly coated.
Layer your coated apples into your crust
Don't bother making a top crust
Bake until it looks... like an apple pie. Poke a few apples to see if they're squishy

///////

YOU WANNA LEVEL UP YOUR PIE GAME?

Just chop up about a cup of dates, and add them to your apple mixture. You'll look like a pro.
posted by ulfberht at 9:16 AM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Pecan pie is also really easy, you can use the recipe on the back of the Karo brand corn syrup.

Apple pie is another one that is hard to screw up. One thing you can do if you wanna up your pie game is cut all the apples first, toss with a tiny bit of lemon juice and a few tablespoons of sugar and let sit out in a strainer for a bit. The sugar will draw out some of the liquid to avoid a soggy pie.
posted by inertia at 9:21 AM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


p.s. you wanna look extra fancy? After you have put the bottom crust and apple pie filling in the pan, roll out your pie dough crust (either homemade or store bought, whatever). Take a leaf shaped cookie cutter (or whatever strikes your fancy) and cut out some shapes. Arrange your leaves on top of the pie instead of a top crust. Bam! Much easier than a lattice crust, and you look like a festive genius.
posted by inertia at 9:27 AM on November 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


Peanut butter pie is SOO easy and soo soo good. Mmmm. This is a sample basic recipe like the one that I usually use (except I use all the fatty ingredients.... why bother... its Thanksgiving)
posted by Quincy at 9:29 AM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Libby's Pumpkin Pie. It's simple and delicious. Recipe on back of can. Deals on makings all over the place. Coupons in paper. Remember to get a can of whipped cream for folks to glurg on top ofit.

Word of warning, line a cookie sheet with tin foil, then put your pie on that to bake. That way if it bubbles over (it probably won't) you just throw the foil away.

You really don't want to scrub pumpkin pie innards from your oven.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:34 AM on November 15, 2013


I got this recipe from a Moosewood cookbook and am adapting it to storebought pie/tart crusts. You only need one crust; I'll confirm the recipe back at home, but it involves just the bottom crust, baked up a bit; some cooked-down cranberries; and melted chocolate. You bake the crust a bit, drizzle some melted chocolate in it, pour in the cooked cranberries, bake the whole thing a few more minutes, and then drizzle more melted chocolate over the top.

And cooking the cranberries is serious as simple as "dump cranberries into a pot with a little water and some sugar and boiling until you hear the cranberries start popping open".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:35 AM on November 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


The real secret here is that all pie is really easy. The hardest part of pie by far is the crust, and rolling the crust, and doing fucking lattice tops which I'm pretty sure are crafted by some sort of dark magicks. But you are using store-bought crust, so that means that your job will be simple.

This isn't really the right season for fruity pies, but if you get the pie bug in the summer, here is how you do it:

-pick a fruit (or fruits that work well together), and get enough so that it'll allllmost fill up a pie dish. (This is usually approximately 5 cups.)

-chop that fruit (if it's something like peaches or apples or whatever) into slightly-bigger-than-bite-sized pieces, or leave as-is in the case of small berries and dump it in a bowl

-add about a 3/4 cup of sugar

-add a splash (like a tablespoon or 2) of some kind of juice (grape juice, orange juice, etc, something acidic--a squeeze of lemon juice will work, too), really just enough to get the mixture wet

-add several shakes of cinnamon, maybe some nutmeg

-stir it around so that the fruit pieces are coated in the mix and walk away for a half hour for it to macerate

-add a few tablespoons (3-5) of flour or cornstarch (to thicken) and mix it in

-dump that mixture into your pie crust and bake your pie


Simple and delicious, every time.
posted by phunniemee at 9:35 AM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I actually think Key Lime is really easy. I buy the crust, but graham crusts are easier to home make than pastry crusts. You whip the yolks with the lime juice and condensed milk, bake it to set; whip the whites with some sugar into a merangue, spread messily, and bake again until the tips of the messy merangue turn brown. With fruit pies I always end up burning the top and I never get a very well-set inside, but with key lime, it's just so easy and there's no top crust to screw up.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:39 AM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


There are fully-formed pies in the freezer section if any of this feels like to much.

Of the pies you list, sweet potato is the one that involves the fewest unusual steps/ingredients and is easiest to do entirely homemade. You can buy canned (pre cooked and mashed) sweet potatoes, or peel and chop into bits and boil them until squishy, then drain. (This can be done in advance.) Mash the heck out of it. Add eggs, sugar, milk and spices (this recipe looks sensible, and the order in which you toss everything in doesn't matter as long as it's pretty smooth at the end.) Dump the goo in a pie crust. Cook it until the center isn't watery. (It may crack if it's overcooked. That won't affect the taste one bit. Throw a blob of whipped cream on it to hide it.)

One step easier is to do pumpkin instead, and buy cans of pumpkin puree.
posted by tchemgrrl at 9:41 AM on November 15, 2013


As a complete baking novice, I was surprised at how simple apple pie is.

It's true: there's a reason the phrase is "easy as pie." If you're buying crust, a fruit pie is a cinch. You toss fruit with some spices, sugar, and a bit of thickener, put it in the crust, top, glaze (this sounds fancy but is easy and makes it gorgeous), then bake.

I'm giving you lots of tidbits here to assure success, so it might look like it's hard. I promise you, it isn't.

apple pie, adapted from Cooks Illustrated

2 pie crusts
1 egg white, beaten w/ 1 tsp water

3-4 lbs apples (CI suggests mixture of Granny Smith & Macintosh for best texture & flavor; my pies turn out fine as long as I use a mixture of apples for depth of flavor), peeled, cored, and quartered
2 TBS flour
3/4 c. sugar*, plus ~1TBP for glazing pastry**
1 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg (fresh is best, but preground will do fine)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of cloves or allspice
1/4 tsp salt

Lay one pie crust in 9-inch pie plate. You may need to roll the purchased crust slightly to get it big enough. In any case, gently rolling it removes creases and makes it easier to work with. KEEP CRUST COLD. If it starts to warm up, pop it into the fridge or freezer for a while.

Be sure the crust lies easily in the corners; stretching the crust to fit can make cracks, which will make your pie stick in the pan after it bakes. Do not crimp yet.

If you wish to cut decorative shapes from the top crust with small cookie cutters, you should do it now while the crust is flat on a counter.

In a large non-reactive bowl, toss apples with spices, flour, sugar, and lemon juice. Pour it all into the crust. If desired, dot apples with 1 TBS butter broken into bits; this is optional, so if you have a vegan or dairy-intolerant diner, don't bother.

Lay second pastry crust over the apples. Crimp with fork or between fingers and thumb. (A crimping tip I didn't learn 'til I worked in a bakery: you want your crimping to stand up handsomely around and above the rim of pan; if you crimp it decoratively under the rim, the edges of the crust get too dark and crumbly.)

If you didn't cut decorative shapes with cookie cutters earlier, now cut some slits into the crust to let steam escape.

Brush crust lightly with egg wash and sprinkle evenly with reserved tablespoon of sugar.

Now you may either bake your pie or freeze it. If freezing, bake in well-preheated oven from frozen state; do not thaw.

To bake: put in a well-preheated 425F oven; place a baking sheet or layer of foil on the lower shelf in case of run-over fruit juices. Bake until crust is top crust is golden, about 25 minutes, then rotate pie and turn oven down to 375F and bake until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, approx. 30-35 minutes. (So that baking time is roughly 50 minutes total.)

If you're baking it frozen, you'll need to add 10-20 minutes to the baking time; just follow the visual cues.

Let the pie cool completely to set juices before serving. If you like warm pie, reheat it in a low oven.

*I prefer a tarter pie so I use ~1/2 c. sugar, but this is the amount called for in the CI recipe.
**If you have it on hand, turbinado sugar gives an even handsomer shine to the crust, but granulated sugar is fine.

For blueberry pie, I follow the same template but substitute ~30 ounces frozen blueberries, STILL FROZEN, for the apples.
posted by Elsa at 9:45 AM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Chocolate pudding pie:

Step 1: buy and open graham cracker or oreo crust
Step 2: prepare 2 packages instant chocolate pudding according to instructions on box [whisk w/ 2.75 c milk for 2 mins]
Step 3: pour pudding into crust
Step 4: chill at least 1 hour
posted by melissasaurus at 9:58 AM on November 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


This recent post on the blue has 12 varieties of pies to help you know what is in season. Of course November is pumpkin, but October is apple and December is sweet potato.
posted by soelo at 10:02 AM on November 15, 2013


The dead easiest pies are what I call the "pudding pies". Get a crust, dump some butterscotch/chocolate/lemon/whatever kind of pudding in it. Cover with whipped cream/cool whip. Ta da. Pie. Is it exciting? No. Is it fancy? no. Will it be tasty? It will be if you like that kind of pudding.

(personally I hate pudding pies, but some people really like them...)

If not a pudding pie, key lime pie is a fregging joke. Lime juice + sweetened condensed milk. Stir. Pour in shell. chill. Ta da! pie!
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:02 AM on November 15, 2013


For the pudding pies, use Half-and-Half. It makes it so thick you can slice it and a much richer flavor.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:15 AM on November 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Thirding apple pie -- there's something very satisfying about baking one (although it's seldom my own choice for eating, when presented with a variety). Use the pre-made crusts; the recipes upthread are fine. My own recipe is from James Beard, which I got from an in-flight magazine. He thought cinnamon and nutmeg were conflicting flavors, and you should use one or the other; but like many I disregard that advice. But it's really simple -- basically sugar, butter and Granny Smith apples plus some cinnamon's all you need
posted by Rash at 10:29 AM on November 15, 2013


If you have the "Joy of Cooking" cookbook (or access to it -- sorry, I can't find a good verbatim version of the recipe online; MeMail me if you want me to type it up from mine) I am a big big fan of the apple pie recipe there. That was my first foray into actually, like, DOING stuff in the kitchen as a teenager beyond boxed Kraft Mac and Cheese, so it is stupidly easy to make, nigh on impossible to screw up, and very, very delicious. I always use the Pillsbury pie crusts from the store and no one ever notices it's not made from scratch. I highly suggest this for a first go.
posted by olinerd at 10:38 AM on November 15, 2013


If you buy the crust it's pretty easy to make any kind of pie. Look at the directions on the back of any can of pumpkin filling - usually you bake the crust for 10 mins, mix half and half with your pumpkin filling, pour into crust, bake, done.
posted by xammerboy at 10:43 AM on November 15, 2013


Cheesecake is not part of the pie family, but it's actually very easy to make, as far as extended dessert relatives go.

I often make this apple cheesecake to bring places or serve as a dessert, this time of year. I like adding some lemon though - toss the apples in fresh lemon juice to avoid browning, and squeeze a little juice (or zest if you want) into the mix. Or substitute different nuts in the crust - I'm not a pecan fan, so I often use walnuts instead. Or add a little nutmeg to the apple topping. Or use brown sugar. It's a pretty good base recipe, that you can adapt to your own tastes.
posted by raztaj at 10:44 AM on November 15, 2013


Key lime. Buy a graham cracker crust, mix together a can of sweetened condensed milk, 4 egg yolks and half a cup + 2 tablespoons lime juice (it doesn't actually have to be from Key limes if you can't find them), pour into crust, bake at 350 for 15 minutes, chill. That is literally it. You can add the zest of the limes to the mixture if you feel like it. Here are 356 people gushing over this recipe. It always works. Always, always, always.
posted by ostro at 10:52 AM on November 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


An easy twist on apple pie: use lime juice instead of lemon. It's not noticeable as lime, it's just slightly different, in a really good way.
posted by snorkmaiden at 10:58 AM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sour Cream Apple Pie. This looks similar to one my family makes. You can even buy presliced apples, though they aren't peeled. My dad did that and I didn't think it was as good as peeled apples. But if you're feeling lazy, it works.
posted by kathrynm at 11:06 AM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you're in the States, go buy a big can of Libby's pumpkin and two pie crusts. You probably also need about 4 eggs, some brown sugar, and a can of evaporated milk.

Follow the recipe on the can of pumpkin. It's super-easy.
posted by leahwrenn at 11:12 AM on November 15, 2013


Chocolate pudding pie.

You can buy a graham cracker crust. Then mix cook-n-serve chocolate pudding (probably use two boxes of 2 cups final pudding each to give 4 cups pudding) with milk. Cook over stove until bubbling. Pour into crust. Put in refrigerator until the party. If you want to get extra fancy, buy some whipped cream in a can to spray on as people wish.

Edit...I see someone else already suggested this. Do it!
posted by BearClaw6 at 11:15 AM on November 15, 2013


Some excellent recipe recommendations here. At Thanksgiving, I like pumpkin, pecan, and apple, myself (for some reason, apple isn't as "traditional", which I find kinda bullshit). A few more tips to help.

* Try to find an all butter dough if you can (most use shortening), probably at a fancy grocery store like Whole Foods, it may branded as French pastry dough (not puff pastry, though). It'll be more expensive but awesome.
* Keep your pie dough chilled. Pie dough is made of three things: flour, fat, a little water (and some salt). The fat will quickly start to melt in a hot kitchen and you don't want to try to press a gloopy mess into a pie plate. Keep it in the fridge until you're ready to use it. And once you put it in the dish, chill it again in the fridge for half an hour or so before putting in the filling.
* Consider "blind baking" your crust before you add the filling - after it's chilled in the fridge for a bit, press a double-folded sheet of aluminum foil into the crust, then weigh it down with dried beans or rice. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, then take the weight and aluminum foil out and bake for another 10 minutes or so. This will help create a solid foundational crust.
* Whichever recipe you go with, check about 20-30 minutes in to make sure the crust that is exposed isn't getting too well done. If it is getting too dark, towards burnt, cover just the outer rim in a ring of foil.

All of this sounds kinda fussy, I realize, but it will help make your pie that much more sublime.
posted by jimray at 11:24 AM on November 15, 2013


Damn, I forgot my favorite protip.

* Put a cookie tray or pan under your pie in the oven. The fat in the crust, especially if it's all-butter, tends to melt out and drip, and when it hits the bottom of your oven, it burns and smokes and can make your pie taste acrid.
posted by jimray at 11:29 AM on November 15, 2013


For ease & traditionalism, the Libby pumpkin pie recipe is hard to beat. Unless I'm trying to feed zillions (or want an extra pie) I use the smaller can because it feels less overwhelming, then just put the extra pie crust in the freezer or make quiche.

(Apple pie is easy, but sometimes the whole peeling/coring thing is just too damn tedious.)
posted by epersonae at 11:48 AM on November 15, 2013


Libby's pumpkin is super easy and a traditional favorite. However, after a heavy meal, I LOVE key lime pie. It's refreshing and delicious.

I always get Nellie and Joe's Key Lime Juice (available at most supermarkets) and use their basic pie recipe:

9" graham cracker pie crust
14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks (whites not used)
½ cup Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice

Combine milk, egg yolks and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Pour filling into pie crust and bake at 350º for 15 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before refrigerating.

I don't bother with meringue, I just top with fresh whipped cream. It couldn't be easier and it is a crowd pleaser.
posted by quince at 12:04 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Momofuku's Crack Pie

Don't let the name fool you. It's way more addictive than crack. It's easy enough, but you could probably even substitute a pre-made graham cracker crust.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:14 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I am with EM...Key Lime Pie (and the graham cracker crust is dead simple to make entirely from scratch.
posted by mmascolino at 1:09 PM on November 15, 2013


Bannoffee Pie! So yummy! And as easy as you want them to be.

I've been making them this fall and have had two requests for them for birthdays :)

I don't have a favorite recipe (though here's an option), but have just been experimenting with the basic components.

- Cookie crumb crust - better homemade (I add minced toasted pecans, yum!), but can be bought premade
- A layer of toffee/dulce de leche - homemade or some stores have cans of dulce de leche which are quite good (in the US I think this is more common at shops with a good selection of Hispanic foods)
- A layer of sliced bananas - stir with a little lemon juice to keep them from turning brown
- A layer of whipped cream (this is much better homemade)

Delicious!
posted by pennypiper at 1:16 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


White Trash Pie (awful name, surprisingly good dessert, EASY and quick, you don't even have to bake it): Mix Jell-O powder into hot water, according to the instructions on the box, when you have liquid mix it with a container of Cool-Whip. Pour the resulting slop into a store-bought graham cracker crust. Put it in the fridge for a few hours.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:21 PM on November 15, 2013


Not exactly seasonal, but n-thing key lime because it is super, super easy. (I see others have posted the recipe).

Also, sorry, but I disagree with cheesecake is by far the easiest.

I make pie pretty regularly, and I have never spectacularly messed something up so badly as cheesecake. Not saying it's necessarily that hard, but I would never describe making good cheesecake as easy, especially for a novice.
posted by likeatoaster at 2:02 PM on November 15, 2013


Thanks, everyone! I'd mark you all best answers except I hate how looks, but you are all best answers in my heart! Also, keep the recipes coming - the more, the merrier.
posted by nooneyouknow at 2:18 PM on November 15, 2013


BUTTERMILK PIE is super simple

Preheat oven to 375

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon flour
3 eggs (beaten)
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 store-bought crust, unbaked

Stir sugar and flour together. Add eggs and stir. Add melted butter. Stir together well. Add buttermilk, salt and vanilla. Stir. Prick pie crust with fork. Pour in filling.

Bake 15 minutes. Turn down oven to 350. Bake 30 minutes more.

Let cool before serving. Top wedges with dollop of whipped cream, one perfect strawberry or nothing at all. Pie top will be golden but center is light cream.
posted by maggieb at 2:47 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Gingerbeer's ginger creme pie

I used Snap liqueur, which smells like fresh gingerbread cookies and more or less inspired the whole pie. Use another liqueur as you wish.

Ingredients:
 12oz silken tofu
 8oz Tofutti cream cheese
 1/4 c molasses
 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger (if you don't have any, just up the powdered ginger)
 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
 ¼ c Snap ginger liqueur
 2 tbsp cornstarch
 1 box gingersnaps
 1 stick butter

Directions:
Preheat 350F
Crust: put gingersnaps in a ziploc bag and crush them. You may be able to do it by hand, or use a rolling pin or other handy crushing device. Melt the butter and mix well with the crumbs. Pat into a pie plate, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Filling:
1. Drain tofu and put in blender (Cuisinart should also work fine)
2. Add Tofutti
3. Blend
4. Add sugar and spices
5. Blend for 3 minutes, periodically scraping the sides
6. Mix cornstarch and Snap
7. Add and blend
8. Pour into pie crust
9. Bake for 45-50 minutes.
10. Remove from oven and place on counter, away from heat (decorate with crystallized ginger if you want)
11. Allow to cool to room temperature (2-3 hours)
12. Chill overnight or for at least 10 hours
13. Eat!
posted by gingerbeer at 2:48 PM on November 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


The only important detail about apple pies is to buy the smallest, hardest, sharpest apples you can find. Granny Smith is usually good. If you take a bite of a slice and spit it out from being too sharp sour, perfect!
posted by sammyo at 2:48 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also make this chocolate pie a lot for my vegan, chocolate-loving sister.
posted by gingerbeer at 2:53 PM on November 15, 2013


Pumpkin or mincemeat are the traditional holiday pies: both are easy as pie. (Sorry, I had to do that!) Fruit pies, like apple, cherry, blueberry, are also extremely easy.

First step: go to store, BUY A PIE CRUST. The crust is the hardest part, so the heck with it, buy it instead --- I even know a lifelong excellent piemaker who uses store-bought crusts, because as she says, she's 89 and she doesn't have the time to waste on scratch piecrusts anymore.

Second step: for most pies, BUY A CAN/JAR OF PIE FILLING. For pumpkin pie, the recipe is right on the can: 'mix with x amount of evaporated milk, maybe an egg; bake'. (Read the can while you're standing there in the store, so you know if you need to pick up something else besides the pumpkin goop.) For mincemeat, cherry or blueberry pies, 'empty store-bought filling into store-bought crust; bake'. You can do the same with apple, or even go the homemade filling route: apple pie is really, really easy: 'peel & slice apples; sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar; dot with butter; bake'. For a fancier apple pie, toss a handful of raisins in there.

Believe me, 1) no one will be able to tell the difference, as long as you don't tell; and 2) most people buy their pie fillings!
posted by easily confused at 3:30 PM on November 15, 2013


Definitely, definitely, DEFINITELY make Banoffee Pie! It is SO EASY. You don't even have to cook it - it's all assembly. Pennypiper has all the steps listed above - crust, caramel, bananas, whipped cream, refrigerate. Chocolate sprinkles if you want. Make the caramel (officially dulce de leche) by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk. Easy! And so tasty!
posted by triggerfinger at 9:09 PM on November 15, 2013


Claufouti! So easy.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:56 AM on November 16, 2013


I seriously do not get the concern over pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, from scratch, is ridiculously easy. Have you ever cooked a squash? You know, cut in half, scoop out seeds, throw in oven for an hour at 350°F? How hard is that? Well guess what, a pumpkin is a squash. Find a little one. The kind they call "pie" or "sugar" pumpkins. Should be about the size of a cantaloupe. Slice that little guy in half. Scoop out seeds. Slap both halves, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet or dish. Bake. When it gets soft, pull it out of the oven and let it cool. Use a fork to peel the skin off. Take the remainder and mash it. You now have cooked pumpkin for all your recipes, pie or not.

My wife likes to throw it into a food processor and blend the hell out of it. I kind of prefer the chunkier, stringier texture you get by mashing it with a potato masher. I mean, I cooked a goddamn pumpkin myself, I didn't resort to no can, I want you to KNOW it! Right? It's like leaving a few lumps in the mashed potatoes so people know it wasn't instant. But either way, MOST of the work is waiting for it to bake, and you can do whatever the hell you want while that is going on.

We usually bake 2 to 4 little pumpkins when they are in season, then bag up the cooked pulp 2 cups at a time in freezer bags. We have home-cooked pumpkin ready to go whenever called for.

The pie: 2 cups pumpkin (or canned if you ABSOLUTELY MUST, geez, people), throw in mixing bowl with egg, can of Eagle sweetened condensed milk (or plain condensed milk, in which case add a cup or less of sugar, to taste - easy way to help control how bad it is for you!). Add spices. My wife buys the "pumpkin pie" spice mix but seriously it is 2 parts cinnamon: 1 part nutmeg: 1 part ginger. You can make it yourself by throwing in these three items to taste. Pour into shell, bake, eat. Top with whip cream or, even better, vanilla ice cream.

As for crust, I do have my great-great aunt's recipe. Not with me though, so I can't quote verbatim. It is a pain in the ass but it is good. The big secret? Take ANY pie crust recipe and use lard. No Crisco. No vegetable oil. Lard. Good, old fashioned, solid (NOT soft!) lard. But it's still a pain in the ass. My wife likes buying crusts frozen from Whole Foods. I don't generally argue.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:57 AM on November 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sounds like you like pies that are pretty sweet. Pecan pie and chocolate pudding pie are good. Blueberry pie- premade crust, overfill with blueberries, add some cornstarch and flour, some lemon juice, sugar, add top crust, bake.
5 cups Frozen Blueberries
1 /2 - 3⁄4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
1 tablespoons Flour
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1⁄2 teaspoon Cinnamon (not required)

Apple pie is easy, except for peeling/ coring the apples. I like to eat natural food, but I peel and core the apples. I have a fancy apple-peeling device. It works fine, but the cheap plastic one works better, no idea where to buy that model. Or, sit in front of a good tv show, peel apples, then quarter them, cut off the core, then slice. 1/2 hour, tops, unless the show is really good. I use more apples than most recipes suggest.
1/2 - 1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 - 2 Tb fresh lemon juice
8 - 10 cups pie apples (5 - 8 apples - Macs, Cortlands, Northern Spy)
1 tablespoon butter (not required)

I like less-sweet pie, and also like sweet-n-sour, so I use sour cream or yogurt in pumpkin pie. I don't like the pre-made pie fillings - they use corn syrup and more sweetener than I like. i generally use brown sugar in pie for an added depth of flavor. For a pie with a top crust, whisk an egg, brush some over the top crust, then sprinkle with large-crystal sugar - it looks extra pretty. Skip the sugar if you don't have it. For pumpkin pie, if you have any extra pie crust, roll it out, use a cookie cutter (a leaf is nice, or hearts, turkey, whatever) to cut a shape, place atop filling before baking. Instant Martha Stewart reputation. I bake apple pie for 45 - 60 minutes; I like the apples soft.
posted by theora55 at 10:20 AM on November 16, 2013


No one said chess pie? (We do chocolate by preference, but you can make a vanilla one, too.) Nothing but standard grocery store ingredients available year round, no fancy tools, it's even easy to clean the dishes after. And it tastes amazing.

Southern Living says: "Chess pie may be a chameleon confection, but at its heart are always the basic four ingredients—flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. And preparation is never much more than a little stirring and about half an hour in the oven."

Try this one.
posted by anaelith at 11:19 AM on November 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


My grandmother, god bless her, would make her own pie crust. Lard was involved. It was better than anything you would buy in a store. But those were the old days and the old ways, and they are gone now.
posted by stargell at 7:19 PM on November 17, 2013


My grandmother, god bless her, would make her own pie crust. Lard was involved. It was better than anything you would buy in a store. But those were the old days and the old ways, and they are gone now.
posted by stargell at 10:19 PM on November 17


Like hell they are! My aunt swore by the Crisco Pie Crust Recipe, except that she would use lard. I can vouch for it--with either Crisco or lard--and for Cook's Illustrated Foolproof Pie Crust, too.

Doesn't sound like the OP wants to go there, though. I agree with the posters who said go for pumpkin, sweet potato, and/or pudding pie. Fantastically easy, always delicious.
posted by magstheaxe at 6:37 AM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you embark on making your own crust-do not melt the butter/shortening/lard. It is in the squishing of those smaller-than-pea-size granules that the flakiness happens. I love pie, and when a friend was insisting that this was a legitimate shortcut in a moment of bravado, the resulting crust was her own lesson. It's an oil&water thing.
posted by childofTethys at 9:12 AM on November 18, 2013


Cook's illustrated pie crust is fine, although a little fiddlier than I sometimes prefer. Maybe I just haven't made it enough. Also, I don't always have shortening at home.

You can also get pretty far with the following:

For one crust:

1 1/3 c flour
1 stick (1/2 c) butter
a little salt
about a quarter-cup ice water

Put the flour in a food processor. Whirl around once or twice. Cut the butter into pats and put it on top of the flour. Process until you've got lots of little tiny pieces of butter (think very coarse cornmeal with little lumps). Turn processor to "on" and slowly pour in the water until things start to come together (slow up as it looks like things are starting to clump) and then whirl around until the dough forms a big ball in the machine.

Take out, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a while. Let warm up a bit before you roll it out. You'll need a little flour to get it to roll out.

Repeat for as many crusts as you need. At Thanksgiving, this is often...many.
posted by leahwrenn at 5:13 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is fairly easy to make and I've used it as the basis for several variations. For example, I'll toss slice apples with sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg, let it sit for an 1/2 hour so, and use that instead of figs.
posted by beowulf573 at 9:54 AM on November 19, 2013


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